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W.Va. state offices open Dec. 26, counties vary

WHEELING, W.Va. — West Virginia state workers may have to wait an extra day to return Christmas gifts or hunt for bargains because Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will not give them the day off Dec. 26.

Marshall and Wetzel county commissioners, however, already have acted to give their employees the day off and an extended holiday weekend. Tyler County commissioners may do so when they meet Monday, according to information provided by staff in each county.

Officials in Hancock, Brooke and Ohio counties, meanwhile, said they would follow Tomblin’s lead. Tomblin spokesman Chris Stadelman said state employees will not be off the day after Christmas.

“Gov. Tomblin has no plans to issue a proclamation declaring Friday, Dec. 26, a holiday for state employees,” he said. “State employees wishing to use annual leave Friday, Dec. 26, may do so and should contact their supervisor.”

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation giving federal employees a paid holiday Dec. 26.

The decision to close county offices in West Virginia is up to each individual county, said Patti Hamilton, executive director of the West Virginia Association of Counties. And unlike at the state or federal level, a county’s action to close offices does not create a legal holiday.

“If the governor or president orders general cessation of business, it becomes a holiday, which is important for things such as (court) filing deadlines,” she said. But “if a county commission states that employees can have the day off on Friday, it does not create a legal holiday.”

The state Supreme Court has acted to close its offices Dec. 26, so county clerks and circuit court clerks are not required to be in their offices that day for court filings, according to Hamilton. Dec. 26 deadlines now can be met Dec. 29.

In Ohio, the supervisors of each individual county office have the authority to decide whether to close Dec. 26.

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